For this post I should probably start with a disclaimer as to why this 'review' might be a little, um... glowing, shall I say? I've been an absolutely massive fan of Oakland, CA's Saviours ever since I saw them blow The Sword off the stage about three and a half years ago.
Despite being unemployed at the time, I did what I usually do when a band destroys my vertebrae through sheer headbang-age, and blew every single penny I had to my name at their merch table. Which at the time meant walking away with only their first two albums, Crucifire and Into Abbadon. Ever since that night, and those albums, I've been hooked.
Which brings me to my much-anticipated first spin of their latest slab of wax, the recently released Death's Procession.
I haven't heard a single note from this album except for the song Crete'n, which was accompanied by what is probably the best music video I have seen in a long time. If you like bikes, beers, brawls and blood, you should probably check it out.
Anyway, enough preamble, I'm gonna get into the record now.
It comes in a pretty simple, but awesome sleeve. The bizarre* patterns and shapes on the front are actually embossed, which makes this record super fun to pick up and paw, if you're as incredibly easily amused by minor sensory details as I am.
The first track, The Eye Obscene, opens with a lumbering riff which quickly gives way to widdly-widdly twin guitars. I normally don't have much time for this sort of thing, but this band does it out of love and reverance for classic rock staples like Thin Lizzy and ZZ Top, not to be show-offy pricks about it. Once the histrionics are done with, Austin Barber's vocals kick in, and you can actually hear it in this voice how much weed this guy smokes. He's never been the most vocally acrobatic and adventurous singer, and this hasn't really changed, but what he lacks in range and variety, he makes up with in... something. Whatever it is, he fucking BELTS out every damn line.
The track is a stoned stomp, with little interjections of dual-guitar flair, and is a pretty awesome tone-setter for the rest of the record.
To The Grave Possessed fucking WAILS out of the speakers with yet more squealing classic rock guitars. That's something that has evolved into their sound more and more with each release, I've noticed. Going back and listening to Into Abaddon before this album, you can really hear the evolution from their doom-y, chugging beginnings into the nimble-fingered '70s throwback rippers they're putting out now.
ANYWAY, I'm getting distracted. Once the wail-age is over, it breaks down to a solid driving rythm, in the most literal sense of the word. I can't drive, but if I could, I would blast this song with the windows down and the volume way the fuck up. Perfect semi-boogie riffage.
Fire Of Old is the third track in a row that begins with a Lizzy-worshipping dual guitar attack, and to be honest, it's starting to get a little (Fire Of) old. Fucking hell, why did no-one stop me from typing that 'joke'? I need an editor or something...
This is another mid-paced classic-rock-40-years-too-late song. One thing I'll say about this album is if you're expecting innovation, originality, and the reinvention of the wheel, well, you ain't gonna get it. If you want a soundtrack to donning your finest double-denim ensemble, downing a couple of beers, and nodding your head, then this record is probably gonna be the soundtrack to your life for the next few months.
I know it'll probably be mine.
Side A ends with Earthen Dagger, which is a return to their doomier, slower roots. It's awesome. Not really much more to say about it than that...
Side B opens with the aforementioned Crete'n, which you can probably make your own mind up about by watching the video up there. A fast-paced, straight-up, no-bullshit banger, and probably my favourite track from the new record so far. Cannot wait to (hopefully) catch this one played live.
Gods End opens with rumbling drums, before hurtling into what sounds like a speeded-up version of the Crete'n riff. This sounds like it should be a Motörhead b-side, which is obviously a great thing. Actually, now I kinda just want to listen to Motörhead... that will have to wait until I finish this side. An overly-long guitar solo in the middle of this song kinda spoils it for me. If edited down to a 3 minute ripper, it would be a contender for my favourite track.
Next is... oh fuck. Fuck. FUCK!
A creeping, crawling, doom-as-fuck riff drags itself out of my speakers. It lurches, lumbers... is that more of my beloved dirty-ass organ sound barely audible in the background? Okay. Forget the fast stuff. THIS is my jam!
The riff mutates, becomes a different, creepier beast before shifting up a considerable amount of gears, launching into the driving steamrolling riffmachine Saviours that I fell in hesher love with.
I've been waiting for a track like this the whole record.
Okay, I can't even write enough about how fucking good this song is, but seriously, buy the album for this one alone.
The album ends with Walk To The Light, which begins with (sigh) yet more twin-guitar harmonies. I hope I can get over my hatred for guitar solos enough to really get into this album, because like I said at the start, I've been a pretty huge fan of this band before now.
The solos get put on the backburner for long enough to let an actual RIFF shine through, and it's a meandering, twisted sonofabitch. Barber even approaches a croon with his vocals. Albeit a croon executed with a shredded throatful of dopesmoke.
Halfway through this song abruptly switches direction and yet again reminds me of the Saviours of old, chugchugchug-tinyvariationonguitaranddrumfillsection-chugchugchug. I dig this part. I focus on the rythm and not the lead, and it's a pretty awesome end to a record that I hope I grow to love.
If you want to worship the riff, pay into Saviours' beer n' weed fund by buying their records and shirts
and keep semi-up-to-date with 'em here
*shout out to the girl who used this word approximately 639 times last weekend. I still owe you a thesaurus...